After a long week of craziness, it was finally time for our newest adventure. The next stop for team Tarpo was Nanyuki town. A few months ago, we took part in the Great Grevy’s rally. If you haven’t read about our experience while searching for the Grevy's zebras and reticulated giraffes, read it here.
The need for this census is to emphasize on the importance of endangered species conservation to both Kenya and the international community. The information gathered is set to shape the future of interventions and policies to protect these species.
The organizing committee was kind enough to request for our presence at this year’s Great Grevy’s Ball. The ball was hosted at the beautiful Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club. It began at 5:30 pm but we arrived at 6:00 pm, not because we’re African timers, we promise, but because we miscalculated the time it would take to get Fairmont. Our experience was pleasant from entry. Typical Kenyans we are, the security guard beamed in joy when he realized we came from the same tribe. He greeted us in vigor and wished us a good evening before letting us in.
Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club is as beautiful as I had imagined. The swathe of green grass was perfectly trimmed, hardly a weed could flourish. The air had a fragrance of its own, urging you to take a second and breathe it in with a ridiculous Cheshire grin on your face.
First on the agenda was the cocktail hour that was to go until 7:00 pm. The beautiful event organizer, Kasmira, welcomed us in at the front desk in her chic dressing. We were handed our seat numbers and welcomed to enjoy the cocktails as we mingled with other guests.
Those in attendance included people from every part of the conservations sector - conservancies, county governments, the Kenya Wildlife Service, conservation organizations, local communities and international partners. These were Marwell Wildlife, WildBook, Grevy’s Zebra Trust, Giraffe Conservation Foundation, KWS, Northern Rangelands Trust, Saruni, Laikipia Wildlife Forum, Wildlife Conservancy and Wildlife Direct.
Everyone looked remarkable in their gowns and suits despite the cold. My personal favorite outfit of the night was a zebra-striped blazer won by one of the gentlemen. I regret not asking for a picture of him because it was a good look.
After the cocktails, we were ushered in to begin the ceremony. Over appetizers, we had the introductions by the Masters of the ceremony, Peter Lalampaa of the Great Grevy’s Zebra Trust. As the evening progressed we had more introductions and remarks.
Dinner was served around 8:30 pm. The menu consisted of tidbits I cannot begin to describe but enjoyed nonetheless. After dinner, we had more remarks from the director of KWS, chairman of the KWS board of trustees, the permanent secretary for wildlife and tourism and the Laikipia County Governor.
Desert was brought forth when the official results of the Great Grevy’s Rally census were released. These results, Grevy Zebra recovery, and action plans were to be released by the Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife - Honorable Najib Balala. Unfortunately, he couldn’t be in attendance, therefore, sending his representatives to take his place and send his apologies.
This year’s Grevy’s Rally brought together over 700 people from across, who took over 10,000 pictures. 42, 526 images were usable with 18,008 of them with giraffes and 22,918 images with the Grevy’s Zebra.
The auction came later in the night. The purpose of the auction was to raise money for the next census taking place in 2020 and contribute to the science which can support conservations. The items being auctioned included; 2 nights at Samawati House in Msambweni, One of a kind Ethiopian fertility necklace by Sonja Parkinson, Rainbow print of a Grevy’s Zebra by Stuart Williams - Limited edition, one of a kind art piece by Abby Brooke, 2 nights at the Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club, 2 nights getaway in Naro Moru for 6 people and a custom-made tent from yours truly- Tarpo Industries.
The auction was engaging. Watching people battle it out for these amazing prices was quite entertaining. For our custom made Tarpo tent, Sheila Funnel and Henry Funnel were the lucky winners. As the auction ended, we had to track them and show our gratitude. They were very happy with their win and couldn’t wait to set up on their next adventure with their son.
Later in the night, as the guests started to leave, the dance floor was open to those who wanted to indulge. Indulge we did, dancing along to the live band that serenaded us like there was no tomorrow.